Green grass, warm weather and good tunes at our favorite outdoor venues are the first sign of summer.
And we couldn't be more excited.
There's nothing quite like a cold drink and a lawn chair (or blanket) while watching your favorite bands.
The summer concert season kicks off with Love Fest in the Midwest this weekend; Bush and Cheap Trick beginning the Stir Concert Cove concert series next week; and the Beach Boys and Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, who will break in River's Edge Park.
So dig out those shorts, find the sunscreen and get ready for some outdoor summer fun.
Love Fest in the Midwest
Is laid-back, grassroots music your style?
Love Fest in the Midwest returns for the fourth time today through Saturday and will take place at the Bellevue Berry Farm.
Bands such as Ian Neville's Dumpstapunk and Nahko & Medicine for the People round out a lineup that includes a whole lot of local bands.
The best part? (Other than the music, of course.) You don't have to leave. Festival goers can camp at the Bellevue Berry Farm, so you can wake up every day for more tunes and community workshops between sets.
Cheap Trick and Bush
Who hasn't spun Cheap Trick's “At Budokan” until they wore out the grooves on their LP? Named one of the top 500 albums of all time by Rolling Stone, the live record features “I Want You to Want Me” and “Surrender” and was Cheap Trick's breakout success. Check out Cheap Trick performing “Dream Police” and other songs May 24 at Stir Cove.
Also at Stir Cove next week is Bush, the rock band fronted by Gavin Rossdale. The group is working on some new songs, and expect a couple May 23 at Stir.
“Our shows are about people getting lost in the music and lost in the moment and lost in the memory of that song,” Rossdale told The World-Herald. (Read the full interview in next week's GO.)
Tickets to both shows are $35 and available at www.ticketmaster.com, Ticketmaster retail locations or by phone at 800-745-3000.
Loess Fest @ River's Edge Park
A week of events will open the new River's Edge Park in Council Bluffs (on the Iowa side of the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge). First off is classic band The Beach Boys, led by Mike Love and Bruce Johnston. They'll play “Good Vibrations” and other tunes on May 25.
Another free show will bring some soul to the park when Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings play a free Playing With Fire concert on May 27. The band will release a new album, “Give the People What They Want,” in August.
Alice in Chains, The Lumineers @ Pinewood Bowl
Lincoln's Pinewood Bowl (in Pioneer's Park) is a picturesque venue: a stage built for rock concerts amid a tree-lined, rolling grass lawn. On May 24, grunge band Alice in Chains will take the stage to play songs such as “Man in the Box” and “Hollow.”
On May 30, The Lumineers will perform to a sold-out venue. The Denver folk group has rocketed from indie obscurity to selling out theaters and playing “Saturday Night Live.”
LL Cool J, Ice Cube, Public Enemy, De La Soul @ Stir
Ready for some old-school rap? LL Cool J is taking a break from filming “NCIS,” and rounded up songs such as “Mama Said Knock You Out” and friends including Ice Cube for the “Kings of the Mic Tour,” which will play Stir on May 31.
“I just got tired of sitting in meetings and listening to people tell me why I gotta have whoever the new young rapper is on my tour because that's the only way it's gonna matter. I don't believe that,” LL Cool J told Radio.com.
O.A.R. @ TD Ameritrade Park
The College World Series needs someone to get the party started, and this year it's rock band O.A.R., which will headline the Opening Celebration Day on June 14 at TD Ameritrade Park.
The free concert will take place outside the stadium before opening ceremonies. In the past, the band provided music for ESPN's coverage and filmed video clips in the Old Market for the song “This Town,” which was used on the cable sports network.
The Black Crowes, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes, Trace Adkins, Silversun Pickups, She & Him, Billy Idol @ Stir
In June, Stir brings six more concerts to its outdoor amphitheater in Council Bluffs. Country, indie rock and classics will bring in big crowds.
Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo @ Memorial Park
Bank of the West Celebrates America returns to Memorial Park on June 28 for the 23rd time. Benatar and her husband and guitarist Giraldo are known for such songs as “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” and “Love is a Battlefield,” among others. Rock band Loverboy, known for “Working For the Weekend,” will also play the show, and the night will be capped off with fireworks.
After Benatar performed in Austin, Texas, a review by austinist.com said her “delivery remains just as contagious without spandex and a tiny figure (although, at 60, Pat Benatar still looks damned good). It's also proof that the music held (and still holds) value well beyond the long-disposed-of image.”
Widespread Panic @ Pinewood Bowl
Jam bands thrive on their band members' ability to read one another. Widespread Panic drummer Sunny Ortiz says the band, which plays in Lincoln on June 21, has quite a connection.
“I tell my wife that whenever I'm out on the road, I'm married to the guys in the band. We can read one another pretty good,” Ortiz told The World-Herald. “There are some days that it's tough, but the majority of the days, we can read each other up on stage. We're all connected there.”
Brandi Carlile @ Sumtur Amphitheater
Papillion's amphitheater will fill up with fans on July 6 for Brandi Carlile, the rock/folk singer-songwriter who is known her voice, her range and her ability to write songs that touch people.
Her songs hit lots of subjects, including tough topics such as alcoholism. The song “That Wasn't Me” deals with a close family member's battle with addiction.
“That conversation is happening from the perspective of the addict,” Carlile said to NPR. “You know, there's a wake behind them. And a lot of times, their kids or their siblings or their parents are left in that wake. It's really hard to balance that forgiveness process when you're the one in the wake.”
The Avett Brothers, Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, Alice Cooper, Sugar Ray, Sheryl Crow, Daughtry, 3 Doors Down @ Stir
More shows at Stir? Yep, six more in July. One of the highlights comes July 19 in the form of the “Under the Sun” tour, a confluence of late '90s/early '00s rock bands including Sugar Ray, Smash Mouth, Gin Blossoms, Vertical Horizon and Fastball.
Robert Randolph & the Family Band, Otis Taylor Band @ Lewis & Clark Landing
Playing With Fire returns to the Omaha riverfront with a two-day blues and rock fest. On July 12 and 13, come celebrate the event's 10th anniversary.
It's a free show, but donations to the Food Bank of the Heartland and American Parkinson Disease Foundation/Nebraska Chapter will be accepted at the door.
Maha Music Festival @ Stinson Park
Space-rock band The Flaming Lips and former HŁsker DŁ frontman Bob Mould lead a lineup of indie rock on Aug. 17 that will fill Stinson Park at Aksarben Village. Other groups on the lineup include punk band The Thermals, pop-rock band Matt & Kim and folk groups Thao & the Get Down Stay Down and Sons of Fathers.
Queens of the Stone Age, Darius Rucker, Slightly Stoopid, Atmosphere, Doobie Brothers, Peter Frampton, B.B. King, Chicago @ Stir
Late summer doesn't mean the shows will go away. Stir will bring more rock, country, hip-hop and classic rock to Council Bluffs. Queens of the Stone Age (Aug. 4) is prepping a new album. Rolling Stone called their new song “I Appear Missing” “a brooding build of thundering drums and intricate guitar interplay.”
Then guitar gods will descend on the venue with Peter Frampton's “Guitar Circus,” which will include Frampton and legendary bluesman B.B. King. And if you like the show, take it home: Frampton's set will be recorded and sold at each show.
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